Saudi Ambassador’s Remarks At U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum In Chicago
April 30, 2010
In the name of God, Most Merciful, most Compassionate.
It is a pleasure for me to speak to you tonight.
At the outset, I would like to express my thanks to all the individuals who have made this event possible. I also want to thank all the participants in this conference.
I have been asked to say a few words about the relationship between our two countries, and I will do so briefly.
The Saudi-U.S. relationship is in its seventh decade. It has seen the coming and breaking of many storms. It has been tried; it has been tested. And it has always come out stronger after each experience.
When I look at the relationship today, I can say that it is in a very unique place in its history. It is very strong; it is very institutionalized. We have officials from both governments – across departments – working and dealing directly with their counterparts in both governments. We have clarity between our two governments.
We have many common interests and challenges that we are dealing with: the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the nuclear issues, the challenges that Yemen faces, the Peace Process, Iraq, Sudan, pirates, terrorists, the financial crisis, and energy issues. On all of these, the interests of our two countries are aligned in ways they have never been. And the cooperation between our two governments on all of these issues is very extensive.
As Ronald Reagan used to say, “facts are stubborn things.” When you look at the facts of the relationship, we find that the numbers speak for themselves. Last year, the American Embassy and Consulates in the Kingdom issued almost 70,000 visas to Saudis. Our Embassy in Washington and our Consulates in the U.S. issued over 60,000 visas to American citizens. These are historically high numbers.
When we look at American investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is at unprecedented levels. And when we look at Saudi investment in the U.S., we can say the same.
This wouldn’t be the case if not for the strength of the relationship.
When we look at the number of Saudi students studying in the United States, the number increased from about 2,300 in 2003 to almost 25,000 today. They are in virtually every state and every city, and they are very noble and distinguished ambassadors of their country and their faith, and we are very proud of them. We expect, as these students graduate and go back to the Kingdom, that they will contribute to the development of Saud Arabia and also act as ambassadors and bridges between our two countries.
Overall, I believe we have a very healthy relationship. We have a relationship that is entering into a new phase, one that will be even deeper and broader than it has been, and one that will hopefully bring prosperity and security and peace to both of our countries.
With these few words, I would like to thank you once again for the opportunity to talk to you, as well as thank the organizers of this event for this wonderful function. And I wish all of you the best.
Thank you very much.